Demographics Necessary For ACA Success Fall Short
By Dr. James Palermo // January 14, 2014
YOUNG ENROLLEES LINCHPIN TO OBAMACARE ECONOMICS
ABOVE VIDEO: CBS reports on the HHS data revealing shortfall of young adult Obamacare enrollees.
It is clearly accepted that the economic viability of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) is highly dependent on participation and buy-in by healthy Americans under the age of 35.
Recently released data related to the demographic breakdown of Obamacare enrollees from Health and Human Services (HHS), the governmental agency administering the law, shows that approximately 24 percent of those enrolled are under the age of 35.
This proportion of young adults who have signed up falls far short of the 40 percent that the government and outside health policy analysts have estimated is necessary to make the exchanges work well, subsidize older, sicker Americans, and avoid substantial premium hikes next year.
ADMINISTRATION COUNTING ON A SPRING SURGE OF YOUNG ENROLLEES
Although Obama Administration officials are characterized repeatedly as upbeat and their narrative consistently includes an expectation that there will be a surge of younger people toward the end of open enrollment March 31, the ACA marketplaces are still far more popular among older consumers. The numbers released by HHS show that more than half of the almost 2.2 million people who bought health insurance on federal and state exchanges in the past three months are older than 45.
7 MILLION ENROLLEES BY MARCH 31 UNREALISTIC
Having fallen more than a million short of the administration’s target 3.3 million overall enrollees by January 1, to hit the 7 million enrollees, of which 40 percent are under 35, that the administration had hoped for by March 31 is a monumental challenge for a law that has had such a troubled implementation and is so unpopular with a majority of the American people.
If the demographic mix targets are not met, there is a possibility that President Obama will consider an insurer bale-out in an attempt to avoid the political and economic fallout of substantial premium increases.